Man-Thing (film)

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Man-Thing
ManThingDVDCover.jpg
Directed by Brett Leonard
Produced by
Written by Hans Rodionoff
Based on Man-Thing
by
Starring
Music by Roger Mason
Cinematography Steve Arnold
Edited by Martin Connor
Production
company
Lions Gate Films
Artisan Entertainment
Fierce Entertainment
Marvel Enterprises
Screenland Movieworld
Distributed by Lions Gate Films
Release date
Country
  • United States
  • Germany
  • Australia
Language English
Budget $30 million[1]
Box office $1.1 million[2]

Man-Thing (also known as Man-Thing: The Nature of Fear) is a 2005 Australian-American horror film, directed by Brett Leonard and featuring the Marvel Comics swamp creature Man-Thing created by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, and Gerry Conway. The plot is based on a storyline by Steve Gerber, who wrote the best-known series of Man-Thing comics. Agents of an oil tycoon vanish while exploring a swamp marked for drilling. The local sheriff investigates and faces a Seminole legend come to life: Man-Thing, a shambling swamp-monster.

The film appeared on the Sci Fi Channel in 2005 under the Sci Fi Pictures label. It starred Matthew Le Nevez, Rachael Taylor, and Jack Thompson. The film was released theatrically in a handful of International markets. The film was a box office bomb grossing only $1 million and received generally negative reviews from critics.

Plot[edit]

At Dark Waters, a Native American sacred land containing an enigmatic swamp spirit, a teenager is murdered by a plant-like monster. The following day, young replacement sheriff Kyle Williams reaches Bywater and meets with deputy sheriff Fraser, who tells him the previous sheriff is among 47 missing persons since oil tycoon Fred Schist bought the ancient tribal lands from shaman and Seminole chieftain Ted Sallis, the first to disappear. Schist claimed Sallis had sold the lands legally and then escaped with the money. Schist then asked the sheriff for help: Local protestors opposed his perfectly legal activities, and mestizo scoundrel Renee Laroque was sabotaging his facilities. Williams investigates this while trying to find an explanation for the missing people, some of which were found brutally murdered with plants growing from inside their bodies. Photographer Mike Ploog and shaman Pete Horn tell Williams local legends about the guardian spirit, suggesting that it could be real.

As sabotage and murder continue, Williams investigates the swamp with Fraser and finds the previous sheriff's corpse. Medical examiner Val Mayerik admits that the previous sheriff had ordered him to file the deaths as alligator attacks, even if Mayerik believed otherwise.

Williams and Fraser try to track Laroque, who lives in the swamp, by using a canoe. At the same time, Schist sends the Thibadeux brothers, local thugs, to track and murder Laroque. The monster in the swamp finds the Thibadeux and kills them. Williams is ensnared by Laroque, who admits having helped Schist buy the lands. Laroque claims that Sallis was opposed to the sale; Laroque insists that the guardian spirit would keep on murdering until Schist stops desecrating the sacred swamp. Fraser tries to help Laroque, but the Man-Thing timely appears and murders Fraser; Laroque knocks Williams down and escapes. Williams wakes up and finds Ploog, who has blurry pictures of the monster; the sheriff seizes the photographs and forbids Ploog to come back to the swamp.

The following day, Williams interviews Horn and Schist, with the help of schoolteacher Teri Richards' help. Williams starts having romantic feelings for Richards. Horn goes to the swamp and tries to stop the Man-Thing with prayers and sacrificing his own life. The monster kills Horn, but is not otherwise affected by his efforts. That night, Mayerik autopsies the old sheriff and finds a bullet. He tries to tell Williams, but he is back at the swamp, unreachable. Mayerik tells Richards, and she goes to the swamp to tell Williams. Meanwhile, Ploog had returned to the swamp, trying to get a picture of the monster. Instead he startles Fred Schist, who was in the swamp to murder Laroque. Schist shoots and kills Ploog. Soon afterward, Laroque ambushes and defeats Schist's son and minion Jake.

Williams finds Ploog's corpse and reasons that Schist murdered Ploog. He then meets Richards, who tells him about Mayerik's autopsy. Williams concludes that Schist is guilty of several murders, trying to incriminate Laroque simply to avoid punishment. According to Schist's confession to Laroque, he murdered Sallis and buried him in Dark Waters. Due to the magic embedded in the soil, Sallis returned as the Man-Thing. Richards reveals that she can guide Williams to Laroque's lair, but the Man-Thing starts chasing them. He chases them to the drilling tower at Dark Waters. In the tower, Schist is leveling his weapon at Laroque in an attempt to prevent Laroque from blowing it away with dynamite. Laroque nonetheless tries to detonate his bomb and is shot and wounded by Schist; Schist then wounds Williams.

However, the Man-Thing arrives and brutally murders Schist by filling his body with oil. The Man-Thing then moves toward Williams and Richards. Laroque sacrifices himself shouting at the monster and blowing the bomb. The monster survives the flames, but then is absorbed back to the land.

Deviations from the comic book[edit]

The comic book series featuring the Man-Thing is set in a swamp, which is depicted as part of the Everglades in Florida. The film changed the setting from Florida to Louisiana.

In the comics, the Man-Thing's main superhuman power is to cause death by burning, by burning anyone who is feeling fear. The series' tag-line was "Whatever knows fear burns at the touch of the Man-Thing." Typically only villains end up meeting an immolating death at its hands. The film changed the creature's powers to the ability to manipulate the swamp's vegetation. That is a form of chlorokinesis.

The origin of the Man-Thing in the film differs significantly from that in the comics. In the comics, Ted Sallis was a scientist who was working at recreating the Super Soldier Serum. An attempt by the organization Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M) to steal his formula, causes the end of Sallis' life as a human being. A combination of the chemical properties of the serum and the magical forces of the swamp, transforms Ellis into the monstrous Man-Thing. In the film, Ted Sallis is not a scientist, but a Native American shaman. Neither the Super Soldier Serum, nor the plot of A.I.M are depicted in the film.

The Man-Thing depicted in the film is more villainous than his comic book counterpart. He is a monster who seems to kill indiscriminately. In the comics, Man-Thing is intimidating, but not particularly villainous. He serves mainly as the guardian to the Nexus of All Realities, a gateway between dimensions which is located in his swamp.

A number of characters in the film are not based on comic book characters, but are named after the writers and artists of the Man-Thing series. More specifically, they are named after writer Steve Gerber and artists Val Mayerik and Mike Ploog.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

In 2000, Marvel Entertainment entered into a joint venture agreement with Artisan Entertainment to turn at least 15 Marvel superhero franchises into live-action films, television series, direct-to-video films and internet projects. These franchises included an adaptation of Man-Thing.[3] Plans to make a film about Man-Thing were first announced in 2001.[4] It was variously considered for a direct-to-video release,[5] or a theatrical release.[6] After the success of Bryan Singer's X-Men (2000), M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable (2000) and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man (2002) the film was moved to a theatrical release to exploit on the success of superheroes.[7]

Post-production[edit]

On October 27, 2003 it was reported that Artisan Entertainment, which had partnered with Marvel Enterprises in production The Punisher and Man-Thing films, was being purchase by Lionsgate Films.[8]In February 2004, the film production and distribution company Lionsgate merged with Artisan Entertainment and received the film rights to Iron Fist, Black Widow, Man-Thing and the Punisher.[9] In January 2004, producer Avi Arad said Man-Thing was more of a departure from the original comic than were Marvel's other film character in that it was a horror film with a menacing central character.[4] On April 2004, the film had been completed, with the finished print received and waiting to be tested with audiences, after which an exact release date would be determined. The film was rated R for violence, grisly images, language and some sexuality by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).[4]

The film had a production budget of $30 million dollars.[1] Avi Arad, then CEO of Marvel Studios, admitted it was a mistake not keeping tabs on the production, as it was being filmed so far away in Australia. He stated "The one hiccup we had was the one project we didn't micromanage. We were not going to the Outback, there was so much going on. We will never do that again. We should never have trusted anybody that far away without our supervision. Thankfully it was a small movie and not a disaster. If we were there and on top of it, it would have been a[n] amazing movie. I look at the {horror} genre, and I think 'Sh--, I can't believe this'. We've learned our lesson."[1]

Filming[edit]

Man-Thing was shot completely on location in Sydney, Australia. Shooting locations included Wisemans Ferry, Serenity Cove Studios at Kurnell for exterior swamp scenes and Homebush Bay.[10] The principle photography for Man-Thing concluded in 2003.

Effects[edit]

Marvel Studios producer Avi Arad said "the lead character in the Man-Thing movie would be a combination of prosthetics and computer-generated effects.[4] From the outset, Man-Thing was intended to be a prosthetic, CG-enhanced creature", Arad told The Continuum during a visit to Marvel Studios So there was a great deal of R&D.... There's positional stuff happening on location, on the set, but at the same time the stuff you don't currently see in camera was always engineered to be enhanced by digital effects. So when you see the movie, hopefully the line is pretty blurry. It's not an all-CG creature.[4]

Design[edit]

Special effects makeup was by the Make-Up Effects Group of Australia.[4] The Man-Thing was built as a full-size creature suit, performed by Mark Stevens, a 7'1" (216 cm) Australian actor, ex-wrestler and stuntman.[4]

Although no full-digital Man-Thing model was made due to budgetary constraints, the suit was combined with digital moving branches and tendrils for certain sequences, also well as digital augmentation for the eyes.[4]

Music[edit]

The band AzUR (DOG Productions' Wayne and Luke, joined with Bec And Freddie) recorded the song The Man-Thing Lives Again that played over the end credits of the film. It was supposed to be released as a promotional video, but since the film was in a constant state of flux (financial, script, etc...) and was not going to go to theatres (as intended), the music video was pulled for lack of budget. Marvel did not want to leak advance images of the set and creature costume before the film's eventual release.One of the band members has worked on the footage and uploaded a remix on YouTube.[4]

Soundtrack[edit]

Man-Thing: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Roger Mason
Released March 17, 2009
Genre Film soundtrack
Length 66:28
Label Nice Spot
Marvel Comics film series soundtrack chronology
Elektra: The Album
(2005)
Man-Thing: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
(2005)
Fantastic Four: The Album
(2005)

The Man-Thing album was composed by Roger Mason and was released on March 17, 2009. The soundtrack consists of 21 tracks. Its duration is over an hour long. The album was released by Nice Spot. [11]

Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Opening/ Swamp" 2:30
2. "Billy & Sarah" 2:23
3. "Old Sheriff's Office" 3:10
4. "People Are Dying" 1:36
5. "Ploog/Something's Out There" 1:42
6. "Asylum/Trouble At The Plant" 2:50
7. "Corley Drops In/ Autopsy" 5:55
8. "Gerber Is Nervous/ Meeting la Rogue" 2:18
9. "Gerber's Body" 1:25
10. "Descent Into Deep Swamp" 2:35
11. "Sacred Land Man/ Dwayne Goes Down" 3:09
12. "Kyle Paddles Upriver/ Snared By la Rogue" 7:35
13. "Ploog's Photos/ Schoolyard" 2:27
14. "Everyone Will Die" 6:14
15. "Pulled Apart Like a Puppet" 2:16
16. "Pete Prepares to Meet his Fate" 5:49
17. "Kyle Might Be In Trouble" 1:22
18. "Finding the Dark Water" 7:33
19. "Spirits of the Dark Water" 0:53
20. "Shist Shoots Kyle & Rene" 4:05
21. "Man Thing Returns to the Swamp" 2:41

Release[edit]

Man-Thing had originally been scheduled for release date on August 27, 2004. The US release date was set for Halloween (October 31) 2004,[4] but when Marvel Enterprises released its second quarter financial report, Man-Thing was included in the 2005 line-up with a release date to be decided. Reportedly, the film was so bad that the test audience walked out before it was finished. So, Marvel put it back on video in the United States, since it would not be bankable in a domestic release. The film was released it internationally in places like Russia and the United Arab Emirates. Man-Thing was released on April 30, 2005, as a "Sci-Fi Original" on the Sci-Fi Channel.[4]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD on June 14, 2005 in the United States.[12]

It was released as a two-disc DVD in Region 2 format.[13]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

While the film was released direct to television in North America, it played theatrically in three International markets where it accumulated $1,123,136 in box-office grosses.[14] On April 28, 2005, Man-Thing opened in Russia and four other Post-Soviet states: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Moldova.[15][16] The film opened on October 26, 2005, in the United Arab Emirates.[17] Finally, the film opened in Spain on March 3, 2006.[18]

Critical reception[edit]

Upon its release, Man-Thing received generally negative response and reviews from film critics. On the film-critics aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, it earned 17% positive reviews based on 50 reviews.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Cotton, Mike. "Avi Arad Interview", Wizard: The Comics Magazine vol. 1, #160 (2005), pp. 42. Gareb Shamus Enterprises Inc..
  2. ^ "Man-Thing". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  3. ^ Fleming, Michael (May 16, 2000). "Artisan deal a real Marvel". Variety. Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Schroeder, Darren (2006). "Movie Things > Man-Thing". Lonely.Geek.nz. Archived from the original on January 21, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Man-Thing Probably Going Straight-to-Video". Superherohype.com. September 5, 2003. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Screening Schedule by Title > Machuca to Oyster Farmer". American Film Market. November 3–10, 2004. Archived from the original on February 21, 2002. 
  7. ^ http://www.thegeektwins.com/2015/02/who-owns-man-thing-movie-rights-now.html#.V-8G_ev3aK1/ Who Owns the Man-Thing Movie Rights Now?, Octobor 2, 2015
  8. ^ http://www.superherohype.com/features/83599-the-punisher-man-thing-studio-bought-by-lions-gate
  9. ^ http://www.thegeektwins.com/2015/02/who-owns-man-thing-movie-rights-now.html#.V-8G_ev3aK1/ Who Owns the Man-Thing Movie Rights Now?, October 2, 2015
  10. ^ http://www.superherohype.com/news/83205-man-thing-set-locations-revealed
  11. ^ http://www.game-ost.com/albums/17984/manthing/
  12. ^ "June 2005 DVD releases". JoBlo.com. 2005. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Man-Thing (2DVD)". The Netherlands: Bol.com. Archived from the original on October 21, 2016. Retrieved October 21, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Man-Thing International Box Office Results". Box Off Mojo. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Man-Thing > Russia-CIS". BoxOfficeMojo.com. Archived from the original on March 3, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Russia Box Office, May 6–8 [11 days in release]". BoxOfficeMojo.com. Archived from the original on January 15, 2006. 
  17. ^ "Man-Thing > United Arab Emirates". BoxOfficeMojo.com. Archived from the original on March 3, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Man-Thing > Spain". BoxOfficeMojo.com. Archived from the original on March 3, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Man-Thing". Rotten Tomatoes (Flixster). Retrieved January 24, 2015. 

External links[edit]